Fanny Garrison Villard

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Fanny Garrison Villard at the International Woman Suffrage Congress, Budapest, 1913.

Helen Frances “Fanny” Garrison Villard (December 16, 1844 – July 5, 1928) was a women's suffrage campaigner and a co-founder of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was the daughter of prominent publisher and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and the wife of railroad tycoon Henry Villard.

Early life[edit]

Helen Frances Garrison, known to family and friends as "Fanny," was born on December 16, 1844. She was the only surviving daughter of five sons and two daughters (of whom a son and a daughter died as children) born to Helen Eliza Benson (1811–1876) and William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879). Her brother, William Lloyd Garrison (1838–1909), was a prominent advocate of the single tax, free trade, women's suffrage, and of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Another brother, Wendell Phillips Garrison (1840–1907), was literary editor of The Nation from 1865 to 1906. Her other two brothers were George Thompson Garrison and Francis Jackson Garrison, who wrote a biography of their father and was named after abolitionist Francis Jackson.


While raising her children, she led a life fairly typical life of a woman in a traditional upper-class marriage. After her children were grown and her husband died in 1900, Fanny Garrison Villard became more active in peace groups and women's rights.[1] She joined the American Woman Suffrage Association along with Anna Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt.

In 1914, she marched against the First World War in New York City.[2] After the winning of suffrage, she founded the Women's Peace Society on September 12, 1919. She was a delegate to The Hague in 1907, and in 1921 a fraternal delegate to the conference of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.[2]

Along with her son Oswald Garrison Villard, she was co-founder of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In January 1866, she married Henry Villard (1835–1900) whom she had met during the Civil War when he was a war correspondent. He later became the President of the Northern Pacific Railway.[3] Together, they were the parents of:[4]

  • Helen Elise Villard (1868–1917),[5] who married Dr. James William Bell, an English physician, in 1897,[6] and was a semi-invalid most of her life due to a childhood fall down an elevator shaft at the Westmoreland House.[7]
  • Harold Garrison Villard (1869–1952),[8] who married Mariquita Serrano (1864–1936), sister of Vincent Serrano and daughter of Mary J. Serrano, in 1897.[9]
  • Oswald Garrison Villard (1872–1949),[10] who married Julia Breckenridge Sanford (1876–1962)[11]
  • Henry Hilgard Villard (1883–1890), who died young.

Fanny Garrison Villard died on July 5, 1928, aged 83, at her home, Thorwood Park, in Dobbs Ferry, New York.[2]


Through her son Harold, she was the grandmother of Henry Serrano Villard (1900–1996), the foreign service officer and ambassador, and Vincent Serrano Villard, and Mariquita Villard Platov.[8]

Through her son Oswald, she was the grandmother of Dorothea Marshall Villard Hammond (1907–1994),[12] a member of the American University in Cairo, Henry Hilgard Villard (1911–1983), the head of the economics department at the City College of New York and the first male president of Planned Parenthood of New York City, and Oswald Garrison Villard, Jr. (1916–2004), a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University.[13]


In the late 1870s, the Villards bought an old country estate known as "Thorwood Park" in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The home, which featured sweeping views of the Hudson River, was redecorated by Charles Follen McKim of McKim, Mead and White in the early 1880s to Fanny's specifications.[14][15]

In 1884, the Villards hired Joseph M. Wells of the architecture firm McKim, Mead and White to design and construct the Villard Houses, which appear as one building but in fact is six separate residences. The houses are located at 455 Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st Street in Manhattan, with four of the homes opening onto the courtyard facing Madison, while the other two had entrances on 51st Street. The homes are in the Romanesque Revival style with neo-Renaissance touches[16] and features elaborate interiors by prominent artists including John La Farge, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Maitland Armstrong.[17]

After the Villard's bankruptcy, Villard House was purchased by Elisabeth Mills Reid (1857–1931), wife of Whitelaw Reid, a diplomat and the editor of the New York Tribune, and the daughter of Darius Ogden Mills and the sister of Ogden Mills, bankers and financiers.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harriet Hyman Alonso (1999). "Villard, Fanny Garrison". American National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ a b c d Times, Special To The New York (July 6, 1928). "MRS. HENRY VILLARD DIES AT AGE OF 83; Daughter of Garrison, Noted Abolitionist, and Widow of Northern Pacific's Builder. WAS A PIONEER SUFFRAGIST Leader in Peace Cause, Charities and Society--Advocate of Colleges for Women". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Henry Villard Is Dead—Capitalist and promoter expires at his country home" (PDF). The New York Times. November 13, 1900. Retrieved February 29, 2008.
  4. ^ "MRS. VILLARD LEFT FORTUNE TO SONS; Oswald G. Villard and H.G. Villard Share Residue of $10,000,000 Estate. $300,000 IN SPECIFIC GIFTS Relatives, Friends, Employes and Institutions Get Bequests From Widow of Railroad Man". The New York Times. July 24, 1928. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "Obituary 3 -- BELL". The New York Times. April 24, 1917. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "HELEN ELISE VILLARD WEDS.; Daughter of Henry Villard Married in London to J.W. Bell". The New York Times. July 12, 1897. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  7. ^ Garrison, William Lloyd (1971). The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison. Harvard University Press. p. 17. ISBN 9780674526662. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Times, Special To The New York (July 21, 1952). "HAROLD G. VILLARD, 82, LAWYER AND WRITER". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  9. ^ "MRS. HAROLD G. VILLARD Wife of Lawyer Was Member of Noted Colombian Family". The New York Times. November 19, 1936. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  10. ^ "OSWALD GARRISON VILLARD". The New York Times. October 2, 1949. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  11. ^ "OSWALD G. VILLARD DIES AT AGE OF 77 | Former Owner-of The Nation and The New York Post Was a Noted Pacifist | KNOWN FOR LIBERALISM | Grandson of William Garrison Predicted Versailles Treaty Would Lead to New War". The New York Times. October 2, 1949. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "DOROTHEA VILLARD IS MARRIED IN HOME; Daughter of Writer and Editor Is Bride of John Hammond of Navy Department". The New York Times. May 12, 1949. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  13. ^ Martin, Douglas (February 8, 2004). "Oswald Villard Jr., 87; Improved Radar's Sight". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  14. ^ Craghead, Alexander Benjamin (October 24, 2016). Railway Palaces of Portland, Oregon: The Architectural Legacy of Henry Villard. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781626193093. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  15. ^ Guttenplan, D. D. (April 27, 2015). The Nation: A Biography. The Nation Co. LLC. ISBN 9781940489209. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  16. ^ Craven, Wayne (2009). Gilded Mansions: Grand Architecture and High Society. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 243. ISBN 0393067548.
  17. ^ Lockhart, Mary (2014), Treasures of New York: Stanford White (TV) WLIW. Broadcast accessed January 5, 2014.
  18. ^ Times, Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph To The New York (December 16, 1912). "WHITELAW REID DIES IN LONDON; Editor and Diplomat Passes Away at Dorchester House After Brief Illness". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  • Marie Louise Degen, The History of the Woman's Peace Party. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1939.
  • Oswald Garrison Villard, Fighting Years: An Autobiography. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1939.

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